In the last year, I have seen both the Chandler Travis Philharmonic and the Chandler Travis Philharmonette, but on Saturday, I saw a completely different side of Chandler Travis as he brought another one of his side projects, the Catbirds, to Valentine’s Music Hall for their Albany debut. The evening started off with the Mysteios blasting through their 45-minute set in true punk fashion. John Brierly, with his guitar slung low, flew through each 2-3 minute song at rapid-fire speed, moving from one to the other, leaving barely enough time to tune between them – and with the intensity he played, this was a frequent necessity.
The second band up was the Catbirds. My curiosity was at a peak. How would they fare after hard rock onslaught of the openers? It didn’t take too long to find out the answer. These cats can rock!!! Right from the first song, “Fish Outta Water,” it was clear this was not going to be another Philharmonic show. Oh, the humor and fine playing skill was there, but they also displayed primal sounds of fully distorted instruments. In previous reviews, I have described drummer Rikki Bates as very solid in a minimalist way – never too flashy. He really let his hair down and showed he was as good as anyone I have seen – all with that same minimalist drum kit.